The in-vitro proliferative reaction of peripheral blood lymphocytes (measured by [3H]thymidine incorporation) to autologous pokeweed mitogen (PWM)-induced lymphoblasts (PWM-lymphoblast-stimulated autologous mixed leucocyte reaction, PWM.AMLR) was used as a measure of immune hyperreactivity for comparison of atopic with non-atopic individuals. Accordingly, 10/24 non-atopics responded in the PWM.AMLR, and 19/19 atopics reacting to inhaled allergens responded. Autologous stimulation was associated with release of mitogenic factors from the PWM-activated stimulating cells (2/15 non-atopics, 9/15 atopics). For non-atopics, stimulation delivered by staphylococcus A (SAC)-activated cells was similar to that delivered by PWM-induced cells, while in atopics, the SAC.AMLR was never more than 50% of the PWM.AMLR, indicating a possible T cell component. Separation by panning of the stimulation cells into lymphocyte subsets supported the notion that stimulation involved a cooperation between B and T4+ T cells. It is proposed that a positive PWM.AMLR is dependent upon an initial B cell activation followed by the PWM stimulus dependent upon a previous T cell activation, where atopics have more lymphocytes in an activated state than healthy non-atopics. Such a baseline priming may contribute to an innate sensitivity of atopics to environmental allergens.
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